Six Components of Addiction

A lot of us understand how people become addicted to substances/chemicals, like nicotine, alcohol, prescription and illegal drugs. A common question I’m asked: are non-substance addictions like gambling really addictions at all? My response: behavioural addictions can be just as serious as substance addictions. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a professor in the UK who studies …

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How Do Clients Succeed In Therapy

From “Heartwounds” by Dr. Tian Dayton: how can counselling help ? “Clients who succeed in therapy exhibit or acquire certain qualities: (1) they are able to self-reflect – that is, they look at their own thinking, feeling, and behaviour and have enough emotional distance from their self-identification so that they see themselves realistically. (2) They take their own …

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Emotion Coaching

In my work I sometimes encounter people who have trouble identifying their emotions, have learned their emotions are bad or dangerous or signs of weakness. They may seldom have had their emotions validated or acknowledged by loved ones. Emotions are simply information from the body that “something is going on” that we should pay attention …

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Not Allowing Depression To Win

How do we prevent falling into the trap of letting our thoughts and feelings determine our behaviour (or lack of it)? While our emotions are designed to motivate action, unquestioning adherence to those emotions can get us into trouble. Consider depression. Depression robs people of their energy, motivation and interests in life. If you always …

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Feedback Informed Treatment

Connecting with counselling can sometimes feel like an intimidating process. I believe people sometimes hesitate to connect with counselling because they are concerned they are going to be told what to do, and they have enough people in their daily life doing just that. Or they are concerned about being judged or criticized, or shamed …

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The Brain’s Negativity Bias

From Rick Hanson’s “Hardwiring Happiness: the New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence”: The brain is an organ that learns, so it is designed to be changed by your experiences.  Whatever we repeatedly sense and feel and want and think is slowly but surely sculpting neural structure.  As you read this, in the five …

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Playing with Anxiety

People struggling with anxiety often want it to go away, which is understandable.  However this stance of ‘I don’t want this to be happening” is part of what gives Anxiety its power.  If you can accept what you are experiencing in the moment, then you are back in control.  A supportive message to yourself is …

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Getting Results in Therapy

I am trained in Feedback Informed Treatment, or ‘FIT’, which tracks therapeutic progress and solicits feedback from clients about what’s working and what isn’t in our sessions. Here is a short video regarding why this is important in therapy: